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The first half of the 2010 season is over, and this much we know: Armwood, Jefferson and St. Petersburg are as good as advertised.
But the season has had its up-and-downs, and quite frankly, the best games and most memorable moment are yet to come. The best performances, too. The stuff we've seen so far? Times preps columnist John C. Cotey makes sense of it with some first half awards:
First-half offensive MVP: Quentin Williams, Jefferson
The Dragons senior signal caller has been even more awesome than expected, and is looking like he will go down as the most prolific
passer in Tampa Bay history. In five games -- including a few where he only played a half or three quarters -- Williams has thrown 21 touchdown passes and only one interception. He’s got his sights set on Aaron Murray’s career touchdown mark of 84 (he needs 25 more), and former Dragon Stephen Garcia’s career passing record of 8,081 yards will likely fall as well.
First runnerup: Stevie Weatherford, Land O’Lakes. Accounted for eight touchdowns last week.
Second runner-up: Nelson Agholor, Berkeley Prep. A true MVP, he makes the Bucs different from everyone else in Class A.
Random thought: If Williams and Weatherford meet in the playoffs, chances are both will have throw more than 40 touchdown passes. Has Florida ever seen such a matchup?
First-half defensive MVP: Anthony Chickillo, Alonso
Chickillo may not be grabbing the same headlines as others because the Ravens are struggling, but the senior defensive end is all that and one big bag of chips. The University of Miami commitment has 64 tackles and 10 sacks, including four against Tampa Bay Tech and five against Spoto, with an interception to boot.
First runnerup: Juice McKinney, Armwood. Conversion to safety is a rousing success.
Second runnerup: Alex Dixon, Countryside. Couple of picks, some big hits.
Random thought: The Armwood defense has allowed 13 points in four games, and their schedule has included three teams (Newsome, Tampa Bay Tech and Plant) in the Top 10 in Hillsborough County in total yardage.
First half's best backfield
1. St. Petersburg: The Green Devils’ wing-T attack has mashed and amassed more than 1,700 yards rushing, led by dynamic duo Rashad Lewis (707 yards, 10 TDs) and Calvin Robinson (513 yards, 6 TDs), who are both averaging more than 10 yards a carry. The Green Devils have rushed for at least 280 yards and four touchdowns in every game; over the past three games they are averaging 360 yards and five scores. The rushing attack is No. 1 in Tampa Bay in yards and touchdowns, with 23, and that was against the tough part of their schedule.
First runnerup: Armwood. Ground and pound, and a quarterback who can run.
Second runnerup: Newsome. Twin Powers activate!
Random thought: How far can a run-only offense take you? The Green Devils are going to the playoffs, but it’s doubtful they can they smash every team in front of them once they leave Pinellas County. So they could be in a postseason pickle, or playing possum with their paltry passing game.
Most surprising team
1. Jesuit: Brandon was a lock for this category last week ...until the Tigers beat Robinson, considered one of the state favorites to reach the Class 2A state title game. Make no mistake, we knew new coach James Harrell would have an impact, but this is ridiculous. The Tigers also knocked off Class 4A Lakeland Kathleen to open the season, and at this point with the remaining schedule, it would be a surprise if they didn’t finish 10-0. Who picked them to beat both Kathleen and Robinson, raise your hand.
First runnerup: Brandon. 5-0 is shocking.
Second runnerup: Largo. So much for rebuilding.
Random thought: Should I even bother with Best Coaching Job of First Half, or just direct you to Surprise Team?
Most underrated player
1. Kyle Wilcox, Armwood: Matt Jones, who will be one of the top 10 recruits in the state next year, was supposed to lead the Hawks in rushing, but that honor belongs to Wilcox, a Wharton transfer who has already exceeded his 2009 rushing total. He broke through the Plant defense to score the first Hawk touchdown Friday, and has nearly 350 yards on the ground already.
First runnerup: Will Irwin, Land O’Lakes. Just catches everything and scores (7 TDs) a lot.
Second runnerup: Terry Johnson, Countryside. Two 100-yard games, and he’s a linebacker. Not bad.
Random thought: Sunlake’s Jacob Jackson could wind up on this list by the end of the season. He’s a tough one to leave off.
Most fabulous freshmen
1. Jarvis Stewart, Largo. He started the year as a defensive back, but it wasn’t until he started gashing the first-team defense in practice
as a scout team running back that the Packers realized what they had. In his two starts, he has been fabulous in leading his team to wins over Sickles and Tarpon Springs.
First runnerup: Artavis Scott, East Lake. Big play wide receiver a stud on special teams, too.
Second runner-up: Cortavious Givens, Admiral Farragut. Played varsity ball as an eighth-grader.
Randdom thought: This year’s group of seniors may be Tampa Bay’s best ever, but I think the area also has an exceptional group of freshmen and sophomores that may just rival this class.
1. Ryan Green, St. Petersburg Catholic: All the sophomore Baron is doing is leading the area in rushing with 843 yards, including last week’s 271-yard, five TD performance. And you can’t credit the schedule -- in two games against a pair of 4-1 teams in Berkeley Prep and Lennard, Green had more than 100 yards and averaged 10 yards a carry.
First runnerup: Nick Addison, Spoto. Who knew he’d be the most prolific passer whose first name didn’t start with a Q.
Second runnerup: Patton Chillura, Jesuit. Steady, capable, improving. Perfect guy for what the Tigers are doing.
Random thought: If both SPC defensive ends hadn’t transferred, Green’s efforts might be paying off more for the defensively-struggling Barons.
Five teams to watch the rest of the season
1. East Lake. Lots of youngsters that by Game 10 will be a year older.
2. Pasco. Are the Pirates as good as they have looked?
3. St. Petersburg. Postseason collision with Bradenton Manatee awaits.
4. Admiral Farragut. Class A, yes, but looking very much Grade A.
5. Plant. Oh, come on, you know you’re curious.
Random thought: If you’re into watching 10-0 teams, then focus all your attention on Armwood, Jefferson, Jesuit and St. Petersburg. Perfection awaits.
Don't miss these games
Oct. 22: Pasco at Land O’Lakes. Biggest game on North Suncoast this season. Probably 3A-7 title game.
Oct. 22: Brandon at Tampa Bay Tech. Eagles try to end Tech’s 5A-7 dominance.
Oct. 29: East Lake at Countryside. Unless Palm Harbor messes this up, for the 5A-8 title.
Nov. 5: Hillsborough at King. Runnerup spot behind Armwood on the line.
Nov. 5: Spoto at Lakewood. Most likely for a postseason berth.
Nov. 12: Plant at Robinson. Fun.
Random thought: Oct. 22 might be the best week of the season, with Jefferson at Spoto and Berkeley Prep traveling to mighty Fort Meade, though I find myself strangely curious about the Admiral Farragut-Victory Christian game the following week.